News and Notes from the DDRCC

Funding Opportunity for Pilot and Feasibility Projects in Digestive and Liver Diseases



The MUSC COBRE in Digestive & Liver Diseases (MUSC CDLD) and the MUSC Digestive Diseases Research Core Center (MUSC DDRCC) invites investigators to apply to the Pilot and Feasibility (P/F) Funding Program. The primary objective of the P/F Program is to support junior and new MUSC investigators who are interested in pursuing basic, clinical, or translational research of diseases that affect the liver and/or gastrointestinal system. Individuals from groups identified by NIH as underrepresented in the biomedical and clinical sciences are strongly encouraged to apply for a P/F award. The program is especially interested in applications that develop or strengthen collaborative interactions among the MUSC digestive disease research community. Proposed projects must have a high likelihood of progression to extramural funding and directly utilize one or more of the CDLD and/or DDRCC Core Resource Centers. It is anticipated that the P/F Program will fund up to four grants. With appropriate justification, projects can request up to $50,000 in direct costs for up to a 12-month period. P/F awardees may apply for a second year of funding through a competitive renewal.


The P/F Program supports four general grant categories as described below, with promising new investigators (i.e., the Early Career category) given the highest priority. Proposed projects must involve digestive and/or liver disease research.

EARLY CAREERMUSC faculty at the Assistant or Associate Professor level who have not had previous extramural independent support as principal investigator (e.g., NIH R01, P01 subproject or equivalent) are eligible. Those with current extramural independent support as principal investigator are ineligible. Investigators supported by Career Development or Fellowship awards (K01, K08 or similar) are considered eligible. Applicant’s funded through the CDLD are expected to identify a mentor who is an established investigator.

NEW DIRECTION: MUSC faculty who have previously or are currently funded through the NIH or similar mechanism and are interested in applying their expertise to digestive and/or liver disease research. Faculty can be of any rank but should have a record of accomplishment in their chosen field. The proposed project cannot overlap with any ongoing funded project.

HIGH IMPACT: MUSC faculty who wish to explore innovative new ideas that represent a significant departure from their ongoing funded projects. Justification of the new direction is essential. Faculty can be of any rank but should have a record of accomplishment in the digestive or liver disease field. The proposed project cannot overlap with any ongoing funded project.

FAST FORWARD: MUSC faculty who need to add preliminary or supportive data for the direct development of a grant submission. Awards are limited to MUSC faculty who have submitted an extramural grant application, received a summary statement, and need additional critical data for a successful resubmission. Faculty can be of any rank.


Applicants should submit a letter of intent (LOI) via email to Caroline Westwater. LOIs should be submitted as a single PDF.

The LOI should include:

• Descriptive title of the proposed research.
• Pilot grant category for which the applicant wishes to apply.
• Name, email address, and telephone number of the PI. Investigators may submit one application as PI per funding cycle and may serve as co-investigator on multiple applications.
• Names of the investigative team, their academic titles, primary department, and proposed role on the project. For Early Career applications, a primary mentor must be identified.
• NIH-style biosketch for each member of the investigative team (include ongoing and completed research projects from the past three years).
• A specific aims page describing the scientific premise, project goal, approach, and planned use of Core Resources (no more than one page in length). Information on available Core Resources can be found on the MUSC CDLD and MUSC DDRCC websites.

After review of the LOI, successful applicants will be asked to submit a full application, consisting of the following components: Project Summary, Specific Aim page (1-page limit), Research Proposal (4-page limit), Literature Cited, Budget and Justification, NIH Biosketch for each investigator, and list of current and pending Other Support for each investigator. Full applications are reviewed in an NIH-style process including external reviews as well as a short oral presentation. Specific details regarding the full application process will be provided to applicants chosen to move forward after the submission of their LOI.

Questions regarding this RFA can be directed to Caroline Westwater, Stephen Duncan, or Don Rockey.


DDRCC DIGEST Newsletter:

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